Performance – No mechanical changes have been made to the Octavia. It gets the same 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TSI petrol engines. The 1.4-litre TSI engine is offered with a 6-speed manual transmission while the larger 1.8-litre unit gets a 7-speed DSG. Both the petrol engines feel refined and love to be revved. While the 1.4 unit churns out 150 PS at 5000-6000 RPM and 250 Nm at 1500-3500 RPM, the 1.8 unit produces 180 PS at 5100-6200 RPM and 250 Nm at 1250-5000 RPM. Performance from the 1.4 unit is satisfactory but won’t excite you while the 1.8-litre engine is a blast to drive and performance is mind-boggling. The DSG gearbox is quick when you mash the throttle but sometimes it also feels a bit confused. You can expect a fuel efficiency of around 11-14 km/l from the 1.4 engine and 9-12 km/l from the 1.8.
The Octavia comes with a choice of really good powertrains, the DSG is brilliant too
The diesel engine is the familiar 2.0-litre TDI unit mated to a 6-speed DSG. It unleashes 143 PS at 3500-4000 RPM and 320 Nm at 1750-3000 RPM. This engine also provides oodles of fun and once you cross the turbo lag, the car accelerates at a rapid pace. You can expect a fuel efficiency of anywhere between 13-16 km/l with this motor. The oil burner gets either a 6-speed DSG or a 6-speed manual gearbox. We got to drive only the DSG trim which also gets paddle-shifters, a Sport mode for the gearbox as well as a manual tiptronic mode, it is a quick shifter and cogs are changed quickly.
Driving Dynamics – The rear track has been increased by 20 mm for the 1.4 and 2.0 variants while for the 1.8, it has been increased by 30 mm. Skoda has claimed that this helps improve ride and handling but we couldn’t find any noticeable difference. The 1.4 and 2.0 variants come with a torsion beam suspension set-up at the rear. Ride quality on the these variants is good most of the times but the car tends to unsettle passengers when you hit bad roads at high speeds. Compared to this, the 1.8 variant gets a multi-link suspension at the rear which provides a far better ride. Even on the handling front, the 1.8 feels a wee bit better. The steering has good feel though and it weighs up nicely and steers the car precisely too. No complaints on the braking front too, with stupendous stopping power from the all-wheel discs.